Stevieslaw: My Voices Article for June

Miracle Grow: The Less-intelligent-than-average American Guide to Cultivating a Green Thumb.

This weekend Myron’s two terrific teenagers moved into our basement. You probably remember my cousin Myron—the fiery red-headed math whiz and America’s chief skeptic. Sometime last spring, Myron read an article in the local paper about the health benefits of gardening. You know the kind of article I’m talking about. It has a catchy title like “twitch your way to an ideal weight,” and propagates pseudo-science and hearsay. Amazingly, after a year of considering the article, Myron fell and fell hard. Last Friday, he came home with a push-me-boy lawn mower and a turn-turn-turn Rototiller twice the size of my Volvo wagon. He tried the push-me-boy once on his quarter acre of lawn and promptly threw out his back. The tiller is still in the box. His teenagers carefully considered the lawn, the mower and the bad back and fled to greener pastures. Myron will not be deterred. Today, when I came over to negotiate for his children, who are eating us out of house and home, he was planting geraniums in what seemed like hundreds of clay pots. His eyes were geranium red, his nose was running and he was sneezing and hacking. If he lives, I’m sure his garden will be lovely.

Like Myron, you too can have a beautiful garden. That is the reason, we at Stevieslaw are proud to publish “Miracle Grow: The LAG to Cultivating a Green Thumb.” In the guide, you will learn that:

1. Creating a garden is not about beauty, health or even healthy eating. It is about bragging rights.

2. Ordering catalogues from all over the planet is essential. If nothing else it will earn you a “thank you note” from the post office (allow 3 months for delivery). We will teach you to discard all but the exotic catalogues—remember that while growing beets is easy, growing Algerian yellow beets will make you the envy of your neighborhood.

3. Ignoring the “planting zone” charts is the key to an interesting garden. Remember that even fragile tropical plants can survive a summer (August 8th through 10th) in Minnesota. Dig the dead ones out and replant next year!

4. Having the finest equipment in a must. You are not a serious gardener if you’re not forced to build a second garage to house your “lawn tractor, tiller, and trowels, hoes and shovels. Get your gardening gear—hat, gloves and shoes from L.L. Bean to wear when your neighbors come by—wear rags when you actually garden.

5. Mulching is the key to a happy garden. Order at least 19 cubic feet of pine bark mulch. Have someone bring in several truck loads and dump it on your driveway. That way, you can spend the next 11 years spreading damp, heavy, and robust, decaying organic matter with a wheel barrow, while your car ages in your garage. Best of all, while you are moving it, your mulch will provide a fine habitat for rodents and their predators—snakes.

6. Buying organic fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide is best. Unfortunately, they don’t work. Leave empty bags of the organics out for people to see, and to compliment you on, but buy the heavy duty stuff. Fertilizer must have “miracle” in its label, while you must search for the herbicide and pesticide that have at least six skull and crossbones on the package.

7. Gardening in the moonlight will earn you bragging rights, while allowing you to spread the poisons you spent the day buying. Speak bashfully about your Shoshone blood, while lamenting the loss of bees, birds and small children by people who garden “with poison”.

8. Leaving even an inch of ground unplanted is a sin. Sure the plants will grow together to form an impenetrable green jungle. Isn’t that the point?

9. Being allergic or lazy is no longer a problem. We will show you how you can contract with General Atomics for remote “gardening drones.” And, if your neighbor’s garden starts to look too good, GA will provide you with a “napalm” drone for only slightly more.

10. Being first with the biggest, sweetest, and most perfect looking fruits, vegetables and flowers is every gardener’s goal. We will teach you how to contract with local CSAs, who can provide you with the best products. Use the new “prizepinups,” available at Lowes or Home Depot to attach the spectacular flowers, fruits and vegetables to your withering vines.

11. Singing the best in gardening songs, while sitting out with pizza and beer and listening to tent caterpillars devour the four thousand dollars of flowers you planted that very morning, is as American as apple pie. And a one and a two…”inch by inch and row by row…*

12. Finally, plowing it all under and installing Astroturf is a snap with the list of approved contractors we provide you with.

Join the healthful, gardening revolution with your copy of “Miracle Grow.” Buy it to read it, or shred it and use it for mulch.

*Garden Song by David Mallett (check out the anti-garden lyrics too).

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